The Flyin Ryan foundation received a $5000 grant from the Gannett foundation, owners of the Burlington Free Press, as recognition for the work they are doing to install core values as part of the education experience at the high school level. Over the past two years, South Burlington high school, under the leadership of Pat Burke, principal, and John Painter, program facilitator have introduced a program called the Flyin Ryan Decisions program to over 400 sophomores at SBHS. The program has had a very positive impact on the culture and climate of the school.

October 25 is a national celebration of community service and volunteerism. The Gannett foundation requires recipients to craft a project which services  this objective. The Flyin Ryan foundation crafted a project whereby the students at nine Chittenden County high schools were given the opportunity to learn about the concept of core values. The Flyin Ryan foundation believes: core values matter. The process included exposure to a four minute video which focused on the core values of Ryan Hawks. The students then had the opportunity to assert an element of control and self-direction in their lives by writing down their own core values on tablets provided by their respective high schools in a public setting… Usually the cafeteria at lunchtime. Each participating school wound up with an anthology which represented a collection of student driven core values.

In addition to the core values exercise, students are given the opportunity to volunteer for community service projects.  As a result, Chittenden County high school students participated in a host of school driven food drives, bottle collection, coin drop, family, a community center  painting project, a 700 pumpkin carving project, hosting at Vermont spooky Saturday (a PBS event), participating as facilitators at the Haunted Forest, and conducting a food shelf 5K run/walk event. The spirit collectively displayed by Chittenden County high school students at these events was spectacular and helped make Chittenden County a little bit better place to live.

The Flyin Ryan Hawks foundation is gratified that, moving forward, the recognition bestowed by the principals at the participating schools is likely to lead to the installation of the Flyin Ryan Decisions program as part of the educational experience for students in Chittenden County. The Flyin Ryan foundation is not confining its efforts just to Chittenden County, but ultimately expects to roll this program out on a broader basis.

The Flyin Ryan foundation wishes to express its gratitude to the Burlington Free Press for its nomination and for the extensive coverage provided before, during and after make a difference day.